Early in October 2014, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas, Texas revealed the 5 U.S. finalists competing in the “Get in the Ring: The North American Startup Clash,” which took place last week, November 6-7. One of these finalists, Spot On Sciences, an Austin-based company developing the novel blood collecting device HemaSpot™, took home the crown after an extraordinary “pitch fight” from the company’s founder and CEO, Jeanette Hill. She won a cash prize worth $10,000 and an all-expense paid trip to the Netherlands to compete in the international finals.
“We’re thrilled that our at-home blood-collection device, HemaSpot, has been recognized for impacting global healthcare,” said Jeanette Hill, founder and CEO, Spot On Sciences. “We were blown away by the caliber of pitches by the other Get in the Ring combatants and feel honored to have won.”
Last week’s startup clash was attended by more than 250 people in the Midland Theatre in Kansas City, with a hundred more following the event online via a live webcast. Those interested can still watch a recording of the event on the foundation’s website: http://www.Kauffman.org/GITR.
The US runner up, Maieutic from Oakville, Ontario, took home a $5,000 cash prize. The company’s pitch was delivered by co-founder and CEO, Asif Khan, which explains Maieutic’s innovative “unique die- and surface-casting technology with a real-time programmable surface to help manufacturers eliminate costly downtime.” The company had faced potential elimination after going up against Spot On Sciences, but was fortunately “saved” by the event’s judges before the big reveal of the winners. The other finalists were Advolve Media (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Hydrobee (Seattle), Identified Technologies (Pittsburgh), PPLCONNECT (Montreal) and The Rumie Initiative (Toronto).
The panel of international judges included the following:
- Devon Brooks (Canada), cofounder of Blo, North America’s original blow dry bar;
- Hernán Fernández (Mexico), director and cofounder of Angel Ventures Mexico, the first professionally managed angel investor network in the country;
- Mark Hasebroock (United States), serial entrepreneur and founder of Dundee Venture Capital;
- Leslie Jump (United States), founder and CEO of Startup Angels and a board member of UP Global; and
- Paul Kedrosky (United States), cofounder and managing partner of SK Ventures and Garibaldi Capital Advisors, entrepreneur, and writer.
Aside from the main prizes, all of the event’s attendees, including those following online, had the opportunity to vote for the “Audience Choice” winner, which went to US finalist FitBark, the world’s smallest wireless activity monitor for dogs. Founder Davide Rossi took home a cash prize of $1,000.
Spot On Science’s CEO Jeanette Hill is set to travel to Rotterdam in the Netherlands to compete with other international champion startups from all over the globe. At stake are cash prizes, media and industry exposure, and unique opportunities for funding. The big night will be taking place on Friday, November 21, 2014, in line with Global Entrepreneurship Week.